Armor is the second layer of defense for most ships (after shields), absorbing damage that would otherwise be dealt to the hull. It is a mechanic that provides damage reduction based on multiple factors.

In Brief[edit | edit source]

Despite the detailed armor mechanics in Starsector being quite complex, the points that are actually important to understand as a player are quite simple, and can be summarized like this:

1) Armor is a protective layer evenly distributed across the whole ship: Armor damage on one side of the ship might leave the armor in another part of the ship intact. That means it is preferable to focus your attacks on a single point in an enemy's armor, rather than only partially damaging large parts of it. Likewise, it is preferable to maneuver in a way that distributes armor damage you take across your ship, to keep the enemy from stripping off armor in one place entirely, exposing your hull.

2) A small number of strong hits are a lot better at damaging armor than a large number of weak hits, even assuming all hits land in the same spot. A weapon's damage-per-shot is just as important in judging its anti-armor effectiveness as the damage-per-second.

3) Armor doesn't scale linearly, but in a way that ensures a flat armor bonus is useful regardless of the base armor stat. For example, adding the Heavy Armor hullmod (which boosts armor by +300) to an Eagle-class cruiser (which has a base armor of 1000) actually increases overall armor effectiveness by about 70%, rather than than only by 30%.

Mechanics[edit | edit source]

The display in the bottom left of the HUD indicates the armor status of the ship. Green cells represent intact armor, and turn brown as armor is damaged or destroyed.

A detailed guide is available on the forum.

Armor is divided into cells, distributed around the ship. Each cell has an armor rating equal to 1/15th the ship's armor rating.

When the armor takes a hit, the cell at the point of impact and 20 surrounding cells[1] pool their armor values. The 9 central cells contribute their full strength, while the outer 12 cells only provide half their strength.[2] This uses an invisible enlarged rectangular grid and is not affected by the size or shape of the ship[3]. Per-cell contributions are indicated in the following diagram, centered on the impact point:


The resulting sum is then used to reduce the damage according to the formula:

Damage multiplier = weapon damage/(armor + weapon damage)

For instance, a 100 damage energy weapon against 100 points of armor will do:

Damage multiplier = 100/(100 + 100)
Damage = 100 * 100/200
Damage = 50

This damage is then applied to the cells that provided the armor reduction. As a result, subsequent hits in the same location will inflict greater damage.

High explosive weapons do 200% damage to armor, kinetic weapons do 50% damage and fragmentation weapons do 25% damage. These damage type multipliers are applied before the armor damage reduction. EMP damage bypasses armor completely.

For the purposes of the armor damage reduction calculation, the damage done by beam weapons is equal to half the DPS of the sustained beam. For instance, a continuous beam weapon with 100 DPS receives the same damage reduction from armor as a projectile weapon with 50 damage per shot. If the same beam were to fire in bursts lasting 0.1 seconds (with full strength for the duration of the burst), it would be treated as having 1000 DPS for this purpose, giving it the same armor damage reduction as a 500 damage projectile weapon.

Armor cannot reduce damage below 15% of its immediately previous value.

The armor value used in the damage reduction calculation cannot be less than 5% of its normal peak value. This means armor provides a small amount of damage reduction even after it has been completely destroyed. Note: Damage type multipliers are still used for calculating the damage reduction from residual armor![4]

Tactics[edit | edit source]

Because of the way the calculation works, weapons with low damage per shot are generally ineffective against armor. Against well-armored targets, it becomes necessary to use high-powered assault or strike weapons to create a weak point in the armor for other weapons to exploit. However, sufficiently high DPS will still trump per-shot damage, particularly once the 15% minimum damage multiplier comes into effect[5].

As armor degrades during combat, it becomes important to turn the damaged side away from enemy fire and/or cover it with your shield.

Impact of skills on armour damage reduction[edit | edit source]

First cell indicates the effective strength hit that the armour is tested. Cells in the first row after that indicate the armour values tested against. Cells in the first column from second on indicate modifiers to armour damage calculations. Damage floor, both default and the lowered one from Impact Mitigation 2, are ignored in this table.


IM1: Impact Mitigation level 1 (+150 to armour for damage reduction).

IM3: Impact Mitigation level 3 (damage dealt to armour is reduced by 20%, before the damage reduction; includes IM1 effects as well).

EA3: Evasive Action level 3 (50% armour miltiplier for damage reduction).

Armour reduction skills.png

References[edit | edit source]

Change History[edit | edit source]


  • Armor value for damage reduction no longer goes below 5% of base armor value
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.